The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mayavati salvo

Lucknow, Aug. 26: Mayavati today announced her decision to take her battle against the BJP beyond Uttar Pradesh.

Determined to hurt the BJP’s poll prospects, the Bahujan Samaj Party leader said: “My top priority is to finish off the BJP in the four states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan where Assembly elections are due soon.”

Mayavati was speaking at a hurriedly convened press conference after handing the resignation of her council of ministers to the governor. The pattern of her party’s alliances and break-ups with partners shows that the BSP has gone on to add to its vote bank after every split.

“I told the governor that I did not wish to head the caretaker government as I wanted to be free to campaign in the coming elections,” she said.

This is bad news for the BJP, which had earlier hoped for the BSP’s indirect support in the four states where it has major stakes. A senior party leader said: “She had helped us by asking her Dalit supporters to vote for the BJP in Gujarat where the BSP had not fielded any candidate. We hoped she would do it again.”

Sources close to Mayavati said some important Congress leaders, including chief ministers of two party-ruled states, had already approached her.

Mayavati believes the BJP central leadership let her down; so she is determined to pay them back.

“My decision to part company with the BJP was not sudden and I have explained my stand in the 30-page chargesheet that I have sent to Prime Minister Vajpayee,” she said.

A party leader said: “The BSP has established significant presence in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and is in a position to spoil the chances of any party in Delhi and Rajasthan.”

Mayavati, clarifying that her split with the BJP was final and irrevocable, hinted that she was ready to do business with anti-BJP forces. “I have already said at yesterday’s rally that we can consider a tie-up with the Congress if the party is ready to give up its manuwadi practices.”

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